?? Question ?? :
Do the family courts conform with the rule of law?
My own considered answer is simply NO, they do not. At best they merely pay lip service to it. However, the last post we put up ‘Making a difference – How to use democracy’-provides a means of starting to conform with the very first of Lord Bingham’s 8 principles but it does require people to actually do something.
Please read this and please share your thoughts with us. What do you think?
Firstly, here is some background information which will help you think about this.
The UK prides itself in its legal system and its universal application of the Rule of Law (ROL). The Rule of Law has even been described as ‘the UK’s most successful export’. Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve wrote:
‘The UK recognises the importance of developing the rule of law, legal institutions and the capacity of countries to deal with legal matters, as crucial to our mutual national interests. The ‘Golden Thread’ of the rule of law runs through not only the ability to prosecute serious crime and terrorism but increasingly wider agendas such as prosperity, development and growth.’
What is the rule of law?
Dominic Grieve went on to praise the esteemed jurist Lord Bingham’s vast contribution in promoting and describing the core principles of the Rule of Law (ROL). Lord Bingham considered:
‘…that all persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly and prospectively promulgated and publicly administered in the courts.’
The core principles of the rule of law
Lord Bingham went on to outline 8 simple principles which he saw as being the key ingredients necessary to support that aim. In brief these were:
1 The law must be accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable.
2 Questions of legal right and liability should ordinarily be resolved by the exercise of the law and not the exercise of discretion.
3 Laws should apply equally to all.
4 Ministers and public officials must exercise the powers conferred in good faith, fairly, for the purposes for which they were conferred – reasonably and without exceeding the limits of such powers.
5 The law must afford adequate protection of fundamental Human Rights.
6 The state must provide a way of resolving disputes which the parties cannot themselves resolve.
7 The adjudicative procedures provided by the state should be fair.
8 The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international as well as national laws.
For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-rule-of-law-and-the-prosecutor